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  • Would Signing Jason Kubel Make Sense?

    The Minnesota Twins struck out 1430 time last season, the third most strikeouts in the history of the game. On the offensive side of the ball, the team scored the third fewest runs in the American League while the pitching staff allowed the second most runs to be scored. The club also left the third most runners on base of any team in the AL.

    There needs to be some changes to the roster and the pitching staff is the biggest priority. Numbers like the ones discussed above make it clear the offense is in need of a boost. The outfield has some open starting spots for 2014 and reuniting with a former player could solve some problems.

    Jason Kubel has become a free agent after the Cleveland Indians bought out the remaining part of his contract for $1 million. The former 12th round pick by the Twins became a mainstay in the club's outfield from 2007-2011. As a free agent, he headed to Arizona in 2012 and socked 30 home runs with a 120 OPS+. The 2013 season saw him suffer a quadriceps injury and flounder to his worst professional season.

    Before his injury-filled 2013, Kubel had been a consistent offensive player. From 2007-2012, his OPS+ ranged from 105-137 and he averaged 21 home runs a season. Those kinds of numbers would have ranked him near the top of the Twins team in 2013.

    Even though there were some concerns from hitters in the first two years of Target Field, Kubel didn't seem to mind hitting in the Twins home ballpark. In 2010, the inaugural season for Target Field, Kubel posted similar .746 and .753 OPS marks at home and on the road. Kubel slugged .377 at home and .476 on the road in 2011 but he had 63 more at-bats on the road.

    While Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham should be penciled in as starters, there are some decisions to make in the outfield. Willingham was hurt for most of last season and he could probably use some more time at designated hitter. Chris Parmelee didn't impress last year and he might need to play more at first base. This leaves an opportunity for the club to add a veteran bat at a corner outfield spot.

    The confetti has hardly settled from the Red Sox championship parade so the free agent hot stove has just begun to get warm. Other teams might be interested in Kubel and there could be better offers on the table than anything the Twins are willing to shell out. For now, it is interesting to think about what he could offer to the club on a short-term deal.

    If Kubel's injuries are behind him, he could be poised for a bounce-back season at a discounted price. Minnesota could be just the team to offer him this possibility because of his history with the club. An incentive laden deal could help their former player regain some value and he could help Minnesota with some of their offensive woes.

    It also helps to know that he isn't opposed to a reunion tour with his original organization.

    Would signing Kubel to a free agent deal make sense for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: Would Signing Kubel Make Sense? started by Cody Christie
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      No, it doesn't, and here's how I know that....

      Have any other left-handed hitting corner OF types been mentioned in relation to the Twins? No. And that's because they don't really need one. But invariably, fans and the media and even Twins Daily needs to wonder about some of their favorites returning, no matter whether it makes sense or not.

      And for the record, I like Kubel and I think he's going to be a savvy pickup this offseason.

      But the Twins are awash with guys like this and Kubel never really embraced Target Field and there are younger (albeit probably not better) options. Not only do I think this shouldnt happen, I can't imagine Terry Ryan doing it, not with someone like Rosario playing OF in the AFL.

      I'm not rippping Cody for writing about it. And I promoted it, because people want to consider it. But really, it just doesn't make any sense.

      I wonder if this thought also shouldn't be applied to Johan Santana somewhat. THere are a lot of injured starting pitchers on the market, and we'll likely crucify the Twins for signing any of them - unless that someone is Santana, in which case choirs will sing and doves will fly.
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      LH Power Bat with no defense in a park that kills LH Power Bats...Pass.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Gotta agree with you, John. Most of the crowd here rants about how the Twins need to move one of these corner bats -- Willingham, Doumit, etc -- to free up space for the kids. Not sure how signing Kubes doesn't add to the old-guy log-jam.
    1. iTwins's Avatar
      iTwins -
      I'll second (third?) John's post. There's too many players just like Kubel on the Twins roster right now. I'd rather see the opportunities go to Arcia and (eventually) Rosario. I enjoyed Kubel while he was a Twin, but I don't see the fit for this team.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Are the Saints looking for a corner outfielder? Now THAT would be fun, watching Kubel in St. Paul. It brings back memories of buying Matt Nokes a beer at Gabe's after a game. And no, he didn't want to talk about the 1987 ALCS.

      I concur with the above posts. Let's keep the corners open for Arcia & Rosario, et al. Best case scenario: the Hammer starts hot, gets traded by the deadline, and Rosario slides into left field.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Kubel's 2012 and 2013 seasons both look like outliers to me, on opposite ends of the spectrum. At best, Kubel is a good strong-side platoon bat with little to no defensive value. Those kind of guys are available very cheaply. The only reason to bring Kubel back would be nostalgia, and if that's what the Twins want, they should try and talk Thome into coming out of retirement before calling Kubel.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Right now, with Kubel in the dugout, who would he take at-bats from? He would basically become part of a rotating between Willingham, Doumit and himself...giving less at-bats to either of those guys, and, if anything, he would bump Parmelee or Colabello off the current roster. Can the Twins get the same or better from Colabello or Prmelee and have the luxury of someone who can play first? Would Kubel basically make Doumit an expensive backup in his walk year as a catcher. If we traded Willingham, would Kubel be a better fit in elft field (or switch with Arcia). At most, he would be a one-year low-contract pickup, which he should be able to find with any of a number of other teams that don't want, say, Delmon Young. As for Santana, if the price is right that you can afford to carry him on the disabled list, possibly, for most of the season, his p.r. value would be invaluable to the team right now...if you could get 3-4 or a half-dozen okay starts out of him.

      Free Agency. There are the big names. But when the dust settles, there may be 250-300 or more guys out there, which can work out to 10 players per team. Most teams don't have that many roster spots available in the majors (especially) and the upper minors.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I still think that Parmelee and Plouffe need to play every day somewhere. If they make no 1B signing, then giving Kubel a part time OF part time DH role isn't the worst of mistakes. Doumit's value I think is hampered when he plays too much, and I hope that Gardy in particular takes that to heart, as Doumit is a guy that could be flipped at the deadline if he's having a decent season.

      As for Rosario, why are people suddenly asking him to go back to the corner OF? The Twins would be far better served to move Dozier back to SS before they move Rosario to the OF and add to an already crowded situation.
    1. Jdosen's Avatar
      Jdosen -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      As for Rosario, why are people suddenly asking him to go back to the corner OF? The Twins would be far better served to move Dozier back to SS before they move Rosario to the OF and add to an already crowded situation.
      I disagree on the point of moving Dozier back to SS to free up a spot for Rosario. A lot of Dozier's value was in playing a sufficient 2B. His bat isn't so good it could outweigh the defensive value he would lose by moving to SS. I predict that if he was the everyday SS, he would be worth less than 1 WAR. Instead, I think we should keep playing Dozier until either he shows he isn't as good as last year, or until Rosario shows he's ready. If the latter is the case, you can trade one of them for an arm. The situation will work itself out.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Normally this would be a signing I would not consider, but the first question is for how much?

      If Kubel could be signed for a very, very reasonable contract no more than two years in length he should be considered. The reason for this is "investment". If Kubel comes back healthy and hits well, then he can be moved to a contending team for value.

      In the end, my guess is that is what some contending team will consider and will sign him to be a bat on the bench with the hopes they are getting a bargain.
    1. ajstolt_09's Avatar
      ajstolt_09 -
      Kubel would be a below average to average defensive outfielder and a decent hitter. If we didn't have a hoard of guys in the minors knocking on the door, I would say bring him aboard! But right now, I am more concerned with the progression of the young guys. Kubel should be able to get a multi-year deal somewhere and we don't need him for more than this year, if at all. So at this point, being patient with the youngsters is the way to go IMO. See what Hicks and Arcia can do this year. See what happens with Dozier and Rosario, that problem will work itself out. If there are guys to trade, ie Doumit, Willingham, Dozier, etc, make those trades. But I am fully expecting another year below .500. Thank god for the prospects to make this team interesting to follow!!

      P.S. I believe the money will be best spent on a couple of #2/3 starters on the market, guys who can give us innings and occasionally give us a chance to win, as opposed to the constant early big deficits we have had the past couple years
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      It might make sense... if he wasn't left-handed. I'd rather see left-handers Arcia and Parmelee at corner OF/1B/DH.

      I guess the right-handed Kubel equivalent is probably Mike Morse. If there's room for Kubel on the team, Morse would slot into that role even better.
    1. Camby's Avatar
      Camby -
      Kubel quit on us the last year he was here. He made it known that he was not a fan of Target Field. We have a younger, better version of him on our roster and his name is Oswaldo Arcia Arcia cost less and has a better upside. Why would we want to give Kubel at bats that Arcia should get? Just say NO to Jason.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      They already have people who can strike out!
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      We need less bad outfielders not another one. Some defense please!
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      We could use a corner outfielder, but not one with poor defense. And DEFINITELY not a left handed one.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jdosen View Post
      I disagree on the point of moving Dozier back to SS to free up a spot for Rosario. A lot of Dozier's value was in playing a sufficient 2B. His bat isn't so good it could outweigh the defensive value he would lose by moving to SS. I predict that if he was the everyday SS, he would be worth less than 1 WAR. Instead, I think we should keep playing Dozier until either he shows he isn't as good as last year, or until Rosario shows he's ready. If the latter is the case, you can trade one of them for an arm. The situation will work itself out.
      If the real Dozier is the 2nd half Dozier then his .800 OPS bat will play up just fine at SS. If this season's end results is the real Dozier, I'd trade him and give Rosario a shot a 2nd. Rosario's bat plays up very nice at 2nd, not nearly so much in the corner... and the OF is going to be crowded as it is with Buxton, Hicks, and Arcia all looking for spots, not to mention some other decent options coming up the pipeline.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      Kubel has a good looking beard, but the Twins have plenty of OF depth, especially at the corner positions. Bringing Koobs back doesn't make sense. I like him to have a comeback season, but it's not going to happen in Minnesota.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      Also, any talk of moving Dozier back to SS is pure garbage. Hog wash. Get away from that.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Not sure I understand what signng him does, other than make the roster older and less capable defensively. At least Choo or Ellsbury are good to great defenders, and get on base a lot......Kubel is the kind of guy a team signs when they are DHing Lew Ford, and are close to a championship, not the kind of guy a team that has fly ball pitchers that probably won't sniff the playoffs should sign.
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